We have failed as both a nation and a people. True, there are those of us out there who see through the hype and the rhetoric. Sadly, it is but a small minority, a tiny club of citizens who refuse to accept the disinformation and outright lying that has been our national inheritance for so long. Teddy Roosevelt, in history books as the great ‘progressive ‘who took on the big corporate trusts, was also a devout imperialist and war monger (Remember the Maine). His colonial plan for the Philippines was savage and inhumane. Harry Truman allowed the Military Industrial Complex, in its early stages, to drop not one, but two A Bombs on Japan. This was not done to shorten the war, because history reveals that the Japanese high command had already offered to surrender peacefully, basically needing to have their emperor remain in place- everyone knew he was a figurehead anyway. Yet, Truman gave the order to drop those bombs over Nagasaki and Hiroshima for the sole purpose of showing the Russians that we could A) make such a devastating weapon and B) that we could make more than one. Bush Sr. attacked Panama primarily for control of the canal. His Iraq War # 1 was to keep Saddam Hussein from dealing with the Chinese and to lessen his influence in the Middle East. Bush Jr.’s wars to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq were really about controlling the oil in that region (Afghanistan’s future pipeline and Iraq’s 2nd largest reserve in the world). As my old Sicilian friend would put it; “Things are never what they seem.”
I walk through the YMCA gym in my provincial town, always listening to the conversations. It still comes as a shock to me just how foolish so many of my neighbors are. I overhear rhetoric about the Liberal Bias in the media or how Obama must be a Marxist, or worse yet, a hated Muslim. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we have no liberal media to speak of, and Obama is the same stooge for the Military Industrial Complex as were all our other presidents, Democrat or Republican. Obama requested and Congress just passed another increase in our obscene military spending, with over 75% of Representatives voting in the affirmative (12 Republicans & 75 Democrats voting NO). So, at last count, over 56 cents out of every dollar you send to Uncle Sam in taxes goes into this bloated $563+ billion dollar annual military spending! Our cities are crumbling, most of us have either no medical coverage or shitty insurance, and they are cutting away vital services all over. College tuitions are being raised; our homes are worth less and less… need I go on? Still, most Americans think that by simply voting things will change. How can things change when the only choices we are given by the rich who control things are this 2 Party & Tea Party system? All three of those groups are owned and operated by the very wealthy. Heaven forbid anyone within those groups to walk a different walk, for they will be pushed into irrelevance or simply scandalized away, regardless of whether the scandal is real or not!
The brainwashing is so intense that most of us don’t even notice it anymore. Take the 23 year old guy who caught Derek Jeter’s 3000 hit, as it landed in the stands for a home run. The young man was a diehard Yankee fan, so much so that he simply wished to give Jeter back the ball as a courtesy. In this day and age memorabilia items like that baseball are traded for in big dollars. Most of the sports journalists covering baseball recognized that the fan could have secured at least $ 200,000 for that ball. Alas, the kid already made up his mind to give it, gratis, to Jeter. Now here’s where the brainwashing comes into play: The young man owes over $100,000 in student loans. Derek Jeter earns that much in less than a week! Perhaps even in one day! Why couldn’t the fan go to Jeter and say something like “Listen, I don’t want to go and auction off this ball- I want you to have it. It belongs with you Derek. Do you think you could at least just pay off my student loans in return? “Or better yet, is Jeter so brainwashed with this every man for himself culture that he could not see the opportunity to become truly noble? Let’s stroll back to October, 1961, in the same venue, Yankee Stadium. Another diehard Yankee fan, one 19 year old Sal Durante, caught the historic (much more historic than Jeter’s 3000th hit) Roger Maris 61st homerun. It had been over 34 years since Babe Ruth set the record of 60 home runs in one year. That ball was worth a lot, both to Maris and to anyone who caught it. In California, a rich man, weeks earlier, had offered $ 5000 to buy that ball once Maris hit it into the stands. Sal Durante did not care. He wanted Roger Maris to have the ball. There he stood with Maris, after the game and in front of all the media. He handed Maris the ball. Maris turned to Durante, handed it back and said “Go and get the $ 5000 for yourself kid.”
Americans need to reject the 2 Party and Tea Party system. We need to only support a political candidate who publically announces his or her plan to A) vote for severe cuts ( 25% to 50% ) in military spending, B) end the occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan NOW, C) end the bombing of Libya and D) begin to shut down the nearly 800 military bases in over 100 countries. None of those 3 political parties will ever dare to do anything even close to that. Never! So, why bother to support them? The savings accumulated by cutting the military budget and ending occupations and overseas bases is astounding! We are speaking of hundreds of billions of dollars a year! Imagine using those revenues to help the 95% of us who now struggle to simply stay ‘above water’. Yet, the brainwashing continues each and every day… in spades! Most of us care more about the Casey Anthony trial and verdict than the killings and mutilations going on in the Middle East. We share our sorrow for that poor little Anthony child, yet maintain dry eyes for the 4000+ troops and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi, Afghan, Pakistani (and now Libyan ) civilians. Our media won’t show us the tattered bodies of our own wounded soldiers with lost limbs and eyes and whatever else, or the one legged Muslim kids hopping around in the intense desert heat. Where is the outrage at the Bush gang for lying us into these phony wars and occupations? Yet, many of us want to use Casey Anthony as the sacrificial Judas goat for our inner frustration. Think about that for a minute. When will my neighbors wake up and take responsibility for their own government? After all, most of them voted for these liars and hypocrites! “Silence gives license to tyranny.”
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. He is a small businessman, activist leader and freelance columnist. Philip is a spokesperson for the nationwide 25% Solution to cut military spending. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 250 columns, many posted on various sites worldwide. Recently, he is finding a home at https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.